The US Open Tennis Championships has been dealt with another casualty to its roster. World number eight Belinda Bencic has announced that she has also decided to pull out of the event alongside several other that have opted out of the event before her.

The US Open is scheduled to start on August 31, but with just two weeks to go, doubts are still being raised about whether the event will push through or not. Even though smaller events have proceeded without incident in Europe as well as the Top Seed Open in Kentucky, players are still choosing not to play in what would effectively be the second Grand Slam of the year.

"I've made the difficult decision to skip New York and will return next month in Rome," said the 23-year-old Swiss star in a statement shared by the BBC. She also expressed her desire to return next year, which is pretty much the same sentiment of everyone who will be skipping the event. "I'm looking forward to returning next year and wish everyone competing there in the coming weeks the best of luck."

Bencic reached the semi-finals in Flushing Meadows last year. Earlier, Defending champion Bianca Andreescu also announced that she won't be returning to defend her title. Men's title holder Rafael Nadal, has also opted out of travelling to New York. As expected, he decided to stay in Europe to focus on the possibility of participating in the rescheduled French Open in September.

With both defending champions and even women's world number one Ashleigh Barty pulling out, the US Open is quickly becoming a shadow of what a Grand Slam should be. Top 10 players Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens have also decided to sit this one out. Meanwhile, Serena Williams has confirmed that she fully intends to participate.

In the men's draw, apart from Nadal, Roger Federer will also be missed. However, the Swiss legend is missing the event more because of the fact that he is recovering from a knee surgery than any pandemic concerns. Novak Djokovic, who contracted COVID-19 last month during his Adria Tour event, has stated that he plans to participate in the US Open.

Controversial Australian Nick Kyrgios has been vocal about questioning the wisdom of travelling to New York amid the raging pandemic.

Belinda Bencic
Belinda Bencic would be the first Swiss women's Grand Slam finalist since Martina Hingis at the 2001 Australian Open AFP / Johannes Eisele